Progressing through the dense accumulation of deciduous growth could be observed a silhouette of slightly duller hue than the enclosing mass: to the imaginative beholder this signified the presence of a human male; to the rational spectator a large animal drifted erect through the woodland – any witness possessing an elevated outlook would query the plausibility of the attendance of ramblers and their onlookers in such an isolated situation as this; any cynic would have reservations concerning the ‘bear’s’ rucksack
The man, however, would have been receptive to the attendance of any hypothetical bystanders or the theoretical observers of hypothetical bystanders; probability wasn’t an issue to him at the moment: as his diminutive form contoured round the crowded multitude of flora any descriptive device would have been companionship enough. The coppice wasn’t remote by any means – a commonly tread path frequented by families with picnics and cyclists…with bikes; it was merely the hour which led it a sinister ambiance. The specificities of his geographical location were unfamiliar to him, as were the temporal and psychological aspects of his circumstance. All he recognized was that this was the liability of a disenchanted custodian in the ownership of aviation equipment.
As far as he could remember he’d obtained a position in some band or other as a percussionist (not that he played percussion; he was purely a drummer ashamed of the connotations of that designation. He had struggled at the marimba once. However hard he blew down the tubes they just didn’t work). His father – a failed viola player who’d toured as a soloist with all the major western orchestras and plunged into a depression after hearing how much the 2nd violins earned – was insistent that he make a success of his career as a drummer; his mother didn’t do anything to curb her husband’s aspirations – but as a bassoon player she couldn’t be held responsible.
When, after channel surfing and catching a South Bank Show, he underwent a similar personal revelation to his father – and sank into the same misery: after leaving his clothes on the beach one day with conspiracy to forge suicide, he spotted his sticks in the sea, and, guessing they had exited his pocket and entered the water, dived in from his cliff top perspective to rescue those articles of nostalgia; whereupon, he found two pieces of driftwood and floundered in the current until by fortune he attracted the attention of a considerate passer-by (who, upon spotting the discarded possessions by on the sand, deduced the supposed intent of the man in the water; waving and smiling, he left the percussionist to his demise). A
fter being fished out of the water by an eco-friendly bassist (who put him back afterwards) he washed up on the beach in a coma a few days later – his lungs remaining intact thanks to the drummer’s large air-filled head maintaining a healthy altitude; and was promptly found and entered the custody of his somewhat dissatisfied parent.
That sounded about right. It explained the salt taste in his mouth and the headache. But unfortunately he had never played the drums. So he endeavored to shelve that line of reasoning and concentrate on rambling in the physical sense. After an un-measurable gap of time had passed and an all too measurable distance had been put behind him since his last fantasy had came to mind he began to hallucinate again.
Another man was lost. He’d lost his rucksack. Come to that, he wasn’t even completely sure he had one – he felt un-accountably strange. He staggered and lurched through an area of the copse, and was eventually brought to immobility in a suspicious clearing: apprehensive as he was about remaining for any prolonged space of time in this clichï¿½d horror-set he couldn’t face returning to the trees. It was getting dark; he was sure it had been light a few minutes ago; the sky was as black as the void for original metaphors about darkness.
Descending from some ambiguous point high above him was a large black arachnid. It had eight legs but it wasn’t a spider – and if he was imagining it he possessed more talent that he was aware of previously: it was a dull blue which, against anything other than the thick backdrop it was set against would have also appeared black; now, however, it was luminous to the point of clarity. The object persisted to slide vertically in the direction of the clearing until it passed through his limp and unconscious body and faded out of vision.
The former character came upon this comatose figure in the grassy circle and it was almost twice the size of him. Frightfully it distinguished the face belonging to this form and attempted to scream; as is often the case in these things, all that came out was a faint hiss, and a female-shaped zombie staggered out the adjacent section of clearing.
A few miles away and some heavy physical exertion two shady outlines paused to gather their crops. They’d had some incidents with deer and rabbits before; but now a family of three had apparently consumed some of their produce they considered it time to move location. They had three bodies to bury, anyway – someone might get suspicious.